CA Fires Cause Bad Valley Air

June 24, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hundreds of fires caused by lightning strikes are burning throughout Central and Northern California. The winds are sending the smoke into the Central Valley, where it's mixing with other pollution to create hazardous health conditions. That's prompted the Valley Air District to issue a warning, aimed especially at those who are sensitive.

Jamie Holt of the Central Valley Air Pollution Control District says," During the summer we have Ozone which is our number one problem and that's smog. But when we have these fires we also see a peak in our particulate matter which is usually a winter time problem.

The blanket of smoke is covering the 8 counties in the central valley, and making it difficult for many to breathe. Dr. William Ebelling, a Fresno Allergist said, "The more dirt that's in the air, the worse it becomes."

Particulates in the air can aggravate lung disease, cause asthma attacks and acute bronchitis and increase the risk of respiratory infections. Particulates have also been linked to heart attacks and arrhythmias, or irregular heart beats.

Ebbeling said under these conditions asthma sufferers must be especially careful, "If you have asthma. That's important to have it fully treated, because that can be life threatening."

The smoky air doesn't bother everybody. A lot of folks have been taking advantage of a slight break in the heat wave to get outside, but for those who are sensitive to bad air, the best advice is stay inside as much as possible, and avoids strenuous activity if you must be outside.


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